Solving weird noises and other bass setup tips

Plus you have the Profile shape which is the variable tapering radius your thumb rides upon.
Put them together, and you have a neck. (there is some spacers between them, so that is not 100% accurate, but it is close enough)

So if you hear people talking about a such and such rad on a Modern C profile, you will understand what they are saying.

I don’t have a neck shape profile chart, but I think @howard does.

This does not consider thickness, so you can’t calc out the fretboard height (top of fretboard to bottom of neck) but most companies put a Thick an Nut and Thick at Bridge position, like the Width at nut and bridge.

If you get familiar with them, you start to know how a bass might feel prior to playing it. It is not a solution, to prevent you from trying out a bass of course, it is always nice to put hands on the bass you are thinking about buying, prior to purchase, but when you are web browsing away, those specs start to add up, and you can almost guess what it would feel like.

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I hear and agree with you but for some reason people seem to just like complicating things :joy: :joy: :joy:

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Could not agree more.

I have seen you post this same advice, and the Marcelo Feldman videos, several times but for some reason people just don’t seem to want to listen. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


Let’s be fair here guys, you know what your doing. There are many newer folks here that aren’t so sure what “feels right” until they put some miles under their fingers. So don’t dis measuring because it’s a viable and valuable method for some newer folks (and older anal retentive engineers too).

If you are brand new to bass, I disagree with your “all you need is”. If you know what your doing and what feels right…then yes.


I really disagree. I think the misperception that you need more tools than that to do this puts people off of the process, which is harmful; I also think that any bass player of any skill level will have more luck following Marcelo’s advice there than they will buying a bunch of rarely used tools, measuring, and setting it up to an arbitrary spec that might not feel good to them in the first place.

Better advice would be to pay a trusted shop for the first setup to get a feel, but that is difficult for a lot of people and reeeeeeaaaaly haphazard in quality from the big chains.

I say this as someone who has always been in an analytical field professionally too - measuring is part of my day job and my major was literally analytical chemistry. I’m not measurement-adverse in any way, I just think in this case it is detrimental if it is a barrier to people learning to do this.

People aren’t idiots. I mean, sure, there are idiots, but generally I think most people can follow a clear instructional video like Marcelo’s and get good results with minimal to no outlay on tools.


Put another way: I and many others didn’t require more than that when new to bass. I learned how to do it from that video and have always done it that way with good results, from the first time. In fact I made a post here about it.

I would feel like a condescending jerk if I just assumed others couldn’t do what I did there - I’m not a musical genius :slight_smile:


Personally, I like to measure things like relief, string and pickup height, because I want to be able to return to my original settings if I mess them up. Also, developing a “feel” for how I like my basses set up takes time, so in the meantime I use measurements as a sanity check.


Yeah of course there’s absolutely nothing wrong with measuring if you want to; I just feel it’s harmful to imply that additional tools and measuring are necessary, or for that matter, for basic setups, even particularly helpful.

I think that the idea of doing your own setup for the first time is intimidating enough as it is. Implying that a bunch of tools and gauges are needed, when they in fact aren’t, seems unfortunate to me. That’s what I have a problem with, not the act of measuring itself if you want to.


I guess my point is that, for me, the fact that I’m measuring what I’m doing actually makes it less intimidating. But I get your point as well. In fact, last time I set up my Cort Action, I essentially lowered all strings almost all the way, and then raised each one again until it stopped buzzing. Worked great. Of course, after that I did measure the resulting string height :crazy_face:


That’s actually my method - as a first step, first set the truss rod, then lower all the saddles until the strings buzz with normal plucking at the 7th-9th fret, and then raise them until they stop buzzing.

This now has two nice characteristics: you have a nice low action, and the strings follow the fretboard radius (modulo string width - but for me it’s absolutely close enough).

From here, I then either leave it (for fingerstyle - I like a low action) or raise the strings by the same amount until picking at a normal pressure doesn’t buzz at the 7th-9th. This gives a slightly higher action, still following the radius.

From that point if I want to I fine tune the strings - this may get them off the “correct” radius, but sometimes can feel better.


Totally in agreement with everything @howard said in his last couple of responses . … :+1:

At first, I was a real stickler about measuring, but it is definitely not necessary. You can do it if you want to, of course, but I just go by “feel” when it comes to string height (action) now. I like my action low, but not enough to cause any buzzing.

I do make an attempt to follow a bit of curvature so that the A and D strings are slightly higher than the E and the G, but again, that is just personal taste.



Yes, THIS!

Measuring and knowing where you are when you like it allows you to get back there at any time.

As for newbies not ‘being able’, I think all are able, but many are not confident enough. people are afraid they will screw something up (which we know is very hard to do) but not to a newbie. I get it, I was there too.

The measuring exercise has taught me a lot too. Having a lot of basses, I now know some need differing setups due to manly factors, I like understanding this.

In the end I do totally get the ‘feel’ piece. I did not a few months ago, it was not comfortable to me, so using a ruler was key. Even with the ruler, and a few standard measurements, i do tweak strings (mostly E strings).


+1 on this sentiment. This makes sense to me when you’re first starting out. Measure, adjust, don’t like what you hear/feel, return to the original setting. Repeat

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While not necessarily about measuring etc. I was super impressed when @JoshFossgreen discussed string action height very early on in B2B. I purchased by bass back in early August and spent about 4-6 weeks in the free trial for Fender Play. I worked my way up to level 3 and at no point in that period of time did any of the Fender instructors mention or reference string action height or the possible need for a setup.

I had spent the first two weeks trying to play my brand new bass right out of the box with extremely high string height. So much so that I almost became discouraged right out of the gate. After watching a few YT videos, I realized the setup was wrong and I took it back to GC and they lowered it. I’ve since watched more videos and feel comfortable doing it myself and I have it just about where I think it needs to be based on what I’ve seen and read here on the B2B forums and of course for my own tastes (at least at the point where I am in my journey).


A good setup is so important. Nice work on setting yours up to taste.


You know that the tools to do proper adjustments and set-ups are their own style of rabbit hole to spend money on. I think I have just about every Music Nomad product their is just to keep mine in tip-top shape. GAS is a disease with no cure. You see a cool toolset with truss rod tools, then a set of fret files, nut files, polishes, waxes, work mats, etc…it never ends.


Yup!! @EddieJones Fun rabbit hole tho :+1:
I was pretty proud of myself having made it out of GC yesterday virtually unscathed.
But then I had to hit up Home Depot for a new set of hex keys & ya can’t buy just 1 individual 3 mm hex, besides… what fun would that be?
… might as well get a set of each, Metric & SAE, just because
… and some fretboard conditioner, since they have it
… and might as well grab a precision screwdriver set while I’m there
:crazy_face: :v:

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I bought a $94.00 Music Nomad Tool kit just to get the .050 hex I needed! (I think that was the size or maybe .50.) It was so tiny but I needed it to adjust the saddles on my Warmoth P/J with the HipShot bridge. My justification to my wife was, “Well, you just never know when they might come in handy”.


Brother you got it bad!! I think you need to get some help. That’s some sh1t I would pull hahaha!! :fist:

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The best part, though, is you really don’t need any of the tools, and after a couple setups, they don’t really even make things easier. Well, a capo does, but even that is optional, even with small hands. All you really need are the allen wrenches and a phillips screwdriver, and maybe the long T-handle truss rod wrench if your bass is one of the few that needs one. Rulers can be useful but not mandatory. No need for guages at all.

Even for filing the nut - I have found sandpaper and cheap diamond files I already had worked perfectly; buying them new would be under $10 total.

I would recommend a real fret dressing file for dressing fret ends though. StewMac sells a nice and inexpensive one. However for polishing the frets, high grit nail buffers worked perfectly or me. again sub-$10.